Gov. Matt Bevin has been no stranger to our area in recent weeks, and, with him, has come the announcement of several high-profile projects and a lot of money coming back to the area.
It is an election year, we acknowledge that, but we also don’t want to get into the merits or lack thereof of the motivations for the announcements that have been made of funding coming to Floyd County for roads, for the Southern Water and Sewer District and for other projects.
Instead, we first want to congratulate and thank all the local and state officials who have been working behind the scenes to get funding for this area.
Floyd County, like other Eastern Kentucky communities, remains somewhat stuck in an economic downfall that mirrors the downturn in the coal industry. We desperately need funding for infrastructure needs, as well as for projects that help us to diversify our economy to move it beyond coal.
But the former sources for that type of funding — mainly coal severance — have experienced a downturn as well, meaning there’s less money for day-to-day operations as well for projects that would put our economy on a more sure footing.
It’s taken a lot of time to break down the barriers that formerly divided our communities, especially along county lines. A new breed of leadership coming to fruition now, however, is looking beyond those former barriers and toward a better future for not just their own counties or areas, but for Eastern Kentucky as a whole.
That’s why funding such as that which has been announced over the past few weeks is so important. The political overtones of the events surrounding the funding notwithstanding, this money could help re-establish Eastern Kentucky’s economy and its future.
We want to caution those making the promises, however — no matter who’s in office, we’re going to be watching.
It has never been so important for promises made to be fulfilled. The future of Eastern Kentucky and its people are at stake.
If this funding falls through or if these projects don’t come through, we could find ourselves starting back over at square one.
It’s time for promises made to become a reality. We’ll be watching to make sure they do and will hold those who fail to keep up to their end of the bargain accountable.
The motives don’t matter if the projects ultimately truly come to fruition.
The people of Eastern Kentucky have certainly heard enough promises to last a lifetime and beyond. What we need now is action, and this newspaper and others across the state will be watching and waiting. Don’t let us down.